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The Brian Setzer Orchestra

The Brian Setzer Orchestra playing in the East Room of the White House.
Background information
Also known as BSO
Origin United States
Genres Swing, jump blues, jazz rock, swing revival
Years active 1990–present
Labels Interscope, Hollywood Records, Surfdog Records
Associated acts The Stray Cats

The Brian Setzer Orchestra (sometimes going by the acronym BSO) is a swing and jump blues band formed in 1990 by Stray Cats frontman Brian Setzer. The group had success covering Louis Prima's "Jump Jive an' Wail", which appeared in Prima's 1957 album The Wildest!. The BSO's follow up single was "Gettin' In the Mood."

Contents

History

Setzer, who had grown up playing the baritone horn in school, often envisioned a rock guitar fronting a big band. In 1990, Setzer organized the orchestra, styled as a big band which included full sections of trumpet, trombone and saxophone players, and a rhythm section with Setzer on guitar and vocals, plus piano, string bass and drums. The orchestra began playing clubs in and around Los Angeles, and was eventually signed to Hollywood Records.

After the release of its first two albums in 1994 and 1996, the group achieved national acclaim during the Swing Revival of the mid 1990's, which saw other similar acts such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Squirrel Nut Zippers come to prominence. There had also been a change of labels, to Interscope Records. The band also had a slight change in orchestration, dropping the piano player. The arrangements on The Dirty Boogie (1998), a mix of Setzer-penned originals and covers of swing standards, had a much harder edge than the previous two albums. Setzer's cover of "Jump Jive an' Wail" was often mistaken for the original Louis Prima version which was featured in a commercial for The Gap, after which the band soon found unprecedented demand. The orchestra then embarked on several U.S. and world tours.

The follow-up album to The Dirty Boogie was Vavoom! which did not see the same success that its predecessor did, as the Swing Revival was dying out. However, the BSO did bounce back in the early 2000's with two albums of holiday music and several supporting tours. The orchestra added two backing vocalists, one of whom, Julie Reiten, eventually became Mrs. Brian Setzer.

Inspired by the use of Frank Comstock's arrangement of "The Nutcracker Suite" on one of the Christmas albums, Setzer lured Comstock out of retirement to create arrangements for Setzer's 2007 album, Wolfgang's Big Night Out.

The orchestra cancelled its 2008 Holiday tour but went back on the road in 2009.

In 2009, the orchestra released a new album titled Songs from Lonely Avenue. This is the first album to feature all original songs written by Brian Setzer. Frank Comstock also worked on horn and string arrangements for the album. The song "Mr. Surfer Goes Jazzin'" has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category, earning Setzer his 9th Grammy nomination.

Orchestra Members

Besides Setzer, the rhythm section is anchored by drummer Tony Pia and bassist Johnny Hatton. During live concert performances, Setzer will often dismiss the horn players and play a set of rockabilly using just this trio, in the manner of the Stray Cats.

The woodwind and brass players have had some turnover during the years but some of the more prominent members include bass trombonist Robbie Hioki, sax player Vincent Trombetta, and trumpeter Kevin Richardson.

The two female backup singers are referred to as the Vixens.

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Current Members

  • Brian Setzer (guitar, vocals)
  • Tim Messina (tenor sax, clarinet)
  • Eric Morones (alto sax, clarinet, flute)
  • Matt Zebley (alto sax, clarinet, flute)
  • Jim Youngstrom (tenor sax, bass clarinet)
  • Charlie Peterson (baritone sax, clarinet)
  • Steve Reid (trumpet)
  • Jamie Hovorka (trumpet)
  • Sean Billings (trumpet)
  • Brian Scanlon (trumpet)
  • Kevin Norton (trumpet)
  • Jason Thor (trombone)
  • Jeremy Levy (trombone)
  • Kerry Loeschen (trombone)
  • Robbie Hioki (bass trombone)
  • Francisco Torres (trombone)
  • Johnny Hatton (bass)
  • Tony Pia (drums, percussion)
  • Julie Reiten (vocals)
  • Leslie Spencer Smith (vocals)

Former Members

  • Bernie Dresel (drums, percussion)
  • Mark Winchester (bass)
  • Joie Shettler (vocals)
  • Beth Curry (vocals)
  • Claude Cailliet (trombone)

The BSO Today

The orchestra is one of the only acts from the Swing Revival of the 1990s which still maintains a high level of popularity. The BSO is commonly seen during the December holidays covering Christmas songs and often play the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony. Additionally, Setzer tunes have been used in commercials, such as "The Man With The Magic Touch" appearing in commercials for Nikon cameras, and "There's A Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" touting Massachusetts tourism.

Tours

Brian Setzer Orchestra

  • Japan Tour 2003
  • Japan Tour 2004
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2004-2005
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2006
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2007
  • Japan Tour 2009
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2009

The Nashvillains

  • European Tour 2005
  • Japan Tour 2006

Discography

Live DVDs

  • Brian Setzer Orchestra live In Japan (2001)
  • Brian Setzer Orchestra Live: Christmas Extravaganza (2005)
  • One Rockin' Night (2007) - Recorded in Montreal, 1995

External links


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